Alaska is famous for its stunning scenery, giant glaciers, pristine forests, romantic lodges and abundant wildlife. See the highest mountain in North America, watch the Northern Lights, drive along the 1,500-mile Alaska Highway, and explore Alaska’s charming towns and cities, including Juneau, Anchorage, Ketchikan, Talkeetna, Skagway, Sitka, Haines, Homer and Valdez. Here are the best places to visit in Alaska, including Denali,
Glacier Bay and Mendenhall Ice Caves.
1. Denali National Park, Alaska
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Denali National Park is located in central Alaska with the Denali Mountain at its heart. Denali, one of the top Alaska destinations, is part of the Alaska Range, and, with its highest peak at 20,310 feet, it is the highest mountain in North America. The upper part of the mountain is always covered with snow and glaciers, and the temperatures can reach minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In spite of the extreme cold, the mountain and the park are home to many animals, among them 39 species of mammals and 169 species of birds.
The park’s flora varies depending on the altitude, from taiga and mixed forests at the lower slopes, to tundra below the snowline. In the summer, the slopes of the mountain are covered with some 650 species of flowering plants. According to archeologists, Athabascan people have been living in the park area for thousands of years. Denali National Park is one of the most famous places to visit in Alaska and about 400,000 people come to visit the park every year.
2. Ketchikan, Alaska
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Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island in the Tongass National Forest, a 17-acre rainforest full of Sitka spruce, cedar, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. Ketchikan is the southernmost Alaskan city backed by forested slopes of Deer Mountain and facing Tongass Narrows waterway, which is buzzing with fishing boats, floatplanes, ferries and barges.
The city hugs the bluffs along the shoreline for 31 miles, and many businesses are located over the water and can be reached via suspended walkways. Native Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian arts are visible everywhere throughout Ketchikan, in museums, and in totem parks. Ketchikan, one of the best towns to visit in Alaska, is famous for its salmon fishing and known as the salmon capital of the world. Things to Do in Ketchikan
3. Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
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Mendenhall Glacier stretches 12 miles from the Juneau Icefield towards Mendenhall Lake and is one of the most famous Alaska tourist attractions. It is about half a mile wide, and the ice is between 300 and 1,800 feet deep. The glacier has retreated two and half miles since the mid-1700s. Its magnificent blue color comes from its crystalline structure, which affects how light reflects off the ice.
The best way to see the glacier is by kayaking up to its face or from a helicopter. Among many popular glacier-related activities are ice climbing and exploring ice caves. There are also a few well-maintained hiking trails leading up to the glacier.
4. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
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Glacier Bay National Park is part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site, and it is one of the largest protected areas in the world. It is located where the North American and Pacific tectonic plates collide and the coastal mountains, three miles high, are still rising.
Glacier Bay covers more than three million acres of mountains, glaciers, rainforest, rugged coastlines, and deep fjords, and is one of the best things to do in Alaska. The landscape is constantly changing; glaciers continue to advance and retreat, dramatically affecting the landscape. The Alaska Marine Highway offers easy access to the park from Juneau. Bartlett Cove, close to the park headquarters, is located in a lush coastal temperate rainforest. It is a great place for biking, hiking, boating, and fishing. You can also take one of the daily boat trips to see the glaciers.
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5. Hubbard Glacier, Alaska
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Hubbard Glacier is located about 200 miles northwest of Juneau off the coast of Yakutat in Wrangell St. Elias National Park, and is one of the best places to visit in Alaska.
It is enormous – about six miles wide at the point where it meets the ocean - and is constantly active, In fact, its two surges in the last 30 years turned the Russell fjord into a lake and almost flooded Yakutat. The glacier’s frequent calving is dramatic, and its face, which can be observed from many visiting cruise ships, is about 400 feet tall. Things to Do in Juneau
6. Talkeetna, Alaska
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Snuggled at the base of Denali or Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in the country, Talkeetna is a historic town that is an excellent starting point from which to experience true Alaska. Just taking photos of the towering Alaska Range is a treat. Near Talkeetna, you can go fishing, hiking, skiing, mushing, and mountain climbing, take a ziplining tour, or visit great art galleries, excellent restaurants, and local craft breweries. Talkeetna is a frontier town like none other.
Where else can you still find people panning for gold or old log cabins built by gold miners more than hundred years ago that are still standing strong? Take Alaska Railroad to Talkeetna and experience a piece of history. Things to Do in Talkeetna
7. Skagway, Alaska
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You can almost feel the frenzy of the gold rush in Skagway. Wooden sidewalks, old saloons and shops, and people dressed in clothing from the end of 19th century greet visitors today just as they did during the town’s heyday when over 40,000 people descended on Skagway on the way to Yukon in the hopes of getting rich quickly.
Today, it is all part of the grand natural museum that is Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Today’s gold rush consists of thousands of tourists who arrive during the summer on many cruise ships to experience a piece of history. Take a 45-minute tour of the Skagway historic district with one of the National Park Service rangers or take one of many hiking trails to the cold alpine lakes and waterfalls around the city. You can also take the popular Chilkoot Trail for an exciting three- to four-day hike that follows the route of the gold rush stampeders on the way to the Klondike Gold Fields. Things to Do in Skagway
8. Sitka, Alaska
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Sitka is little Alaskan treasure of an island rich in nature, culture, and history. Located on the picturesque Baranof Island in the Alexander Archipelago, Sitka is surrounded by snow-covered mountains hidden by old pine forests growing to the waters’ edge and myriads of little islands in the archipelago that greet thousands of tourists every summer.
It is the town where Americans came to buy Alaska from Russians, an event that is celebrated with much gusto every year. The culture of Sitka’s native original inhabitants provides much of the city’s vibrance. The spectacular surrounding nature is ideal for outdoor exploring. Hike through the spruce and hemlock rainforest to see the American bald eagle, black-tailed deer, or brown bears at the Fortress of the Bear. Alternatively, you can take a boat trip to see humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, and thousands of birds. Things to Do in Sitka
9. Places to Visit in Alaska: Homer
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Homer is a quirky, charming little town on the shores of Kachemak Bay on the southern Kenai Peninsula in South Central Alaska. It is quite a long drive from Anchorage. It is famous for its great fishing (the town is known as the halibut world capital), spectacular nature, and excellent art and culinary scene. Most of the life in Homer revolves around the Spit, the 4.5-mile long road on the sand bar that leads straight into the beautiful blue bay.
Shops and restaurants line this popular road. The Kenai Mountains to the east and north not only provide magnificent backdrop but also protect the town from the cold, creating an exceptionally mild climate. Almost any road out of town ends as a hiking or biking trail, taking you into the picturesque wilderness. Go fishing, like everyone else in town, explore the natural landscapes, or take a boat tour to see the rich marine life. Things to Do in Homer
10. Northern Lights in Fairbanks, Alaska
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The mysterious curtain of swirling, flowing, ever changing purple, yellow, green, and red lights that brighten the night skies is known as the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis. Fairbanks, Alaska, is one of the best places on Earth to watch this magical spectacle of nature.
The town has two things going for it: it is located in the area around North Pole called Auroral Oval, and its continental climate allows for more clear nights than other places on the coast. In this area, the lights appear more often and are more vivid and mesmerizing than almost anywhere else. The best time to experience it is late at night or early in the morning. Take a dog sled or a horse-drawn sleigh to enjoy northern lights in comfort. You can also ask your hotel staff to wake you up when the show starts.
11. Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is undoubtedly one of the must-see destinations to include on any Alaskan itinerary. A place where bright blue skies glisten about sparking glaciers and snow fields, Anchorage is the gateway to the majesty of Alaska. The city is located on the homelands of the native Dena’ina Athabascan people and skillfully combines most of the best elements of the country. Welcome to exceptional natural beauty, the amazing phenomenon of the Northern Lights and jaw-dropping outdoor recreational facilities without having to give up your urban comforts. But it’s not all about nature – Anchorage is also rich in cultural and artistic attractions. Things to Do in Anchorage
12. Places to Visit in Alaska: Valdez
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The city of Valdez lies in Port Valdez at the head of the 11-mile long fjord in the Prince William Sound. It is small city and one of the most important ports in Alaska for both fishing and commercial purposes. It is also an oil terminal for the Trans-Alaska pipeline.
For thousands of years, the Chugach and Ahtna native peoples used the area for trading jade, copper, furs, and fishing. The protection of the nearby Chugach Mountains keeps the port ice-free year round. With tidewater glaciers, waterfalls, majestic mountains, rainforests, and abundant wildlife on land and sea, Valdez is a popular tourist destination for those looking for action.
13. Seward, Alaska
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Seward is located at the foot of majestic Mount Marathon on the shore of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula. For centuries, Seward’s ice-free harbor has served for as a gateway to Alaska’s huge, wild and resource-rich interior. The town served as a natural starting point for gold seekers during the gold rush, and the dog sled trail that led from Seward to the gold fields in Iditarod is now the location of the famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
Visit Kenai Fjords National Park, deep glacial lakes, the Harding Icefield, take a kayak tour, participate in a dog sled race, go fishing for salmon or halibut, or take a small plane tour and see everything there is to see from the air. Things to Do in Seward
14. Haines, Alaska
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Haines is located in a deep fjord on a narrow peninsula in northern Southeast Alaska. Like so many others, Haines was built on a trade route of Chilkat Indians, also used by gold seekers going north into Canada. This spectacularly beautiful little town is surrounded by 20 million acres of wilderness protected areas, with magnificent Takinsha Mountains towering above town and the famous Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve on the outskirts.
The most dominant feature of the city is Fort William H. Seward, which is today home to galleries, shops and homes. The town is famous for its large number of artists and totem carvers, as well as the curious Hammer Museum, containing a collection of 1,500 hammers. Things to Do in Haines
15. Romantic Places to Visit in Alaska: Tracy Arm Fjord
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Tracy Arm Fjord is located 45 miles south of Juneau and is part of the Tongass National Forest. It is one of two deep and narrow fjords in the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. Tracy Arm Fjord is more than 30 miles long, and one-fifth of it is covered in ice. During the summer, the fjord has floating ice that ranges from small pieces to a three-story building size.
The most common access is by boat through Stephens Passage to Holkham Bay and from the bay to the fjord. Many tourist boats visit the fjord and North Sawyer and South Sawyer, the two glaciers at its end. The base of the glaciers is a place where the visitors can see local wildlife such as brown and black bears, wolves, deer, harbor seals, and many birds.
16. Places to Visit in Alaska: Tongass National Forest
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Tongass National Forest covers 17 million acres, which is most of Southeast Alaska. It is the largest national forest in the United States. Most of it consists of a temperate rain forest rich in wildlife and rare flora. The area is very diverse and ranges from Alexander Archipelago islands and numerous fjords and glaciers to the Coast Mountains. It is home to 75,000 people, and the largest city in the area is Juneau.
Three Native Alaska nations live in the area: the Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian. Tongass National Forest represents the true wild Alaska, and it offers the unique opportunity to see bears, eagles, and salmon, and to take a sled-dog ride across a glacier, hike through boardwalk trails, and to fish in the ocean or in the wild streams.
17. Alaska Highway
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The Alaska Highway is a 1,500-mile long wide-open road from Dawson Creek in British Columbia to Delta Junction in Alaska. It was carved from rock and deep forests in only eight months. As you drive through Alaska Highway, you will see some of the most magnificent national parks in both Canada and the United States.
The farther north and west you go, the more spectacular the mountains will become. Along the road, you will encounter bears, moose, wild sheep, and bison. You can find great fishing holes, pan for gold at the MacBride Museum in Whitehorse, walk the trestle bridge at Pouce Coupe.
18. AK Places to Visit: Columbia Glacier
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Columbia glacier is located a short boat ride from the port of Valdez in Prince William Sound. At some points, the glacier is more than 550 meters thick, and it covers 400 square miles. It stretches for 32 miles through the Chugach Mountains and ends in Columbia Bay.
This majestic glacier has been drastically retreating since 1982 and is losing 13 million tons of ice every day. In fact, some calving chunks are so enormous that they endanger the tourist boats that come to watch the spectacle. At its face, the glacier is up to 400 feet tall. More unique places to visit
19. Places to Visit in Alaska: Kenai Fjords National Park
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Kenai Fjords National Park is located near the town of Seward on the Kenai Peninsula. It covers an area of 669,984 acres. Its main feature is the Harding Icefield, which is accessible by foot along the Harding Icefield Trail.
About 40 glaciers flow out of the Harding Icefield, and rich marine and terrestrial wildlife live in the park. You can see moose and bears when hiking to the Exit Glacier or whales from the boat, as there are many boat tours from Seward. You can also rent a kayak and explore on your own.
20. AK Places to Visit: Matanuska Glacier
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Matanuska Glacie starts from the Chugach mountain range in the South Central Alaska and is part of the Matanuska State Park. It is the biggest Alaskan glacier accessible by car - you can see it from Glenn Highway after a short two-hour drive from Anchorage. It is 26 miles long and 4 miles wide at the point where it ends.
It is called a valley glacier; it flows like a river pushed by its own weight through the valley. The best way to see the glacier up close is from private Matanuska Glacier Park. You can walk across the glacier on your own or in the company of a trained guide.
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Girdwood is a lovely Alaska mountain town surrounded by the peaks of the Chugach Mountain Range and surrounded by lush old forests and seven permanent glaciers.
It is located only 36 miles south of Anchorage and offers year-around recreational opportunities. It is the town to come for great Nordic skiing, dog mushing, snowmobiling, fishing, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, rafting and so much more. Visit Chugach Powder Guides for snowcat and helicopter skiing or Alyeska Resort for the scenic Aerial Tram to see breathtaking views of the water and hanging glaciers. Things to Do in Girdwood
22. Black Sand Beach
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Out in the Glacier Bay National Park, Black Sand Beach is named due to the beautiful black sands found here. They’re not quite as soft to touch as the sort of sands you’ll find on white or golden beaches, but they’re incredible to look at. Visitors will also be able to marvel at the magical views in every direction, with snow-capped mountains and stunning icy spots all around. The views at this beach are quite possibly the best in all of Alaska and you'll definitely want to bring your camera along to snap some photos to share with your friends. This beach is also a good camping and kayaking spot, so there are plenty of activities to enjoy here.
23. Fort Abercrombie State Park
Stretching out over 182 acres in total, Fort Abercrombie State Park is one of the best and most beautiful recreational areas in all of Alaska. The park is filled with a wide variety of landscapes including forests, hiking trails, rocky areas, and sandy beaches. You can even find a lot of old World War II military outposts dotted around the park, making it a nice spot for explorers and history enthusiasts, and there's plenty of fascinating flora and fauna to be admired as well. As for the beaches themselves, they all offer soft sands and outstanding views, and since the park is so large, you can almost always find a little private spot just for you and your friends.
24. Schooner Beach
Schooner Beach is a very special beach for several reasons. The first thing that makes this beach special is the presence of the Satsuma Maru, a schooner that crashed onto the shore many years ago and still remains as an exciting wreck to admire and explore. You'll also find some really good surfing conditions at this beach, so if you've got the skill and courage needed to brave the Alaskan waters, this is a great place to ride some waves. Even if you're not interested in surfing, it can be thrilling to sit on the sand and watch the surfers out on the water, taking photos and strolling along the sands as the day passes by.
25. The Homer Spit
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One of Alaska's best known beaches, The Homer Spit is a highly popular fishing and boating area. You'll see dozens of different boats in the local docks and out on the waters at every time of day and night, and the local area is equipped with lots of useful stores, restaurants, rental places, and more, so there's always plenty to do at this Alaskan beach. The town is also known as one of the best places in all of North America to go fishing for halibut, and the beach is dog-friendly too so you can bring your four-legged friend along for some fun in the sun.
What are the 25 Best Places to Visit in Alaska?
The 25 Best Places to Visit in Alaska according to local experts are:
- Denali National Park, Alaska
- Ketchikan, Alaska
- Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
- Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
- Hubbard Glacier, Alaska
- Talkeetna, Alaska
- Skagway, Alaska
- Sitka, Alaska
- Places to Visit in Alaska: Homer
- Northern Lights in Fairbanks, Alaska
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Places to Visit in Alaska: Valdez
- Seward, Alaska
- Haines, Alaska
- Romantic Places to Visit in Alaska: Tracy Arm Fjord
- Places to Visit in Alaska: Tongass National Forest
- Alaska Highway
- AK Places to Visit: Columbia Glacier
- Places to Visit in Alaska: Kenai Fjords National Park
- AK Places to Visit: Matanuska Glacier
- Black Sand Beach
- Fort Abercrombie State Park
- Schooner Beach
- The Homer Spit
Attraction Spotlight: Misty Fjords
With an enormous two million acres of natural beauty, Misty Fjords attracts thousands of tourists on a yearly basis due to its hiking, wildlife, and general sightseeing possibilities. This tourist attraction and official natural monument is in Ketchikan, Alaska, which offers the best of both the untamed wilderness and city amenities that all guests will enjoy.
Part of the much larger Tongass National Forest, Misty Fjords is both a national monument and official wilderness area that is supported by the United States Parks Department. It was set up in December of 1978 by then President Jimmy Carter. It has similar glacial morphology and geology to Yosemite Valley and was originally charted by European explorers in the late 1700s. The forests are made up of a variety of types of trees, like spruce, cedar, and hemlock.
Misty Fjords is well known for attracted tourists to its many different outdoor activities. Most of those outdoor activities allow tourists some of the best views of this exceptionally beautiful part of Alaska.
One of the most popular outdoor activities at Misty Fjords is kayaking through the inlets and protected coves. Due to its immense size, many of the tourists who kayak through Misty Fjords will choose to have one of the tourist boats drop them off and pick them back up. This allows even beginning kayakers to enjoy the beautiful waters of the fjords without having to commit to spending longer on the water than they are capable of handling.
Another way for seeing the majesty of the fjords is by taking a flightseeing tour. Tours are available and cater to small tours of between two and eight people in a small plane. Experienced tour guides and pilots fly guests over the fjords and point out the sights from the sky, allowing them to see Misty Fjords from a unique angle unavailable to most people. Photographs are encouraged. There are also helicopter tours, allowing an even small tour of only up to four at a time. Many of these tours will take guests over the 1000-foot waterfall off Big Goat Lake and the giant walls of granite that are 3000 feet in height.
A combination tour available is two-hour tour aboard a floatplane. Guests will be provided with their own headsets, maps, and guides. After taking a traditional flight above the fjords and lakes, the floatplane takes a dramatic splash landing in one of the lakes. Guests can then leave and spend some time hiking in the nearby forest or enjoying the shore.
Tourists may also enjoy hiking through the forest, as the national park occupies an immense amount of land. One of the best ways to see both the space and the living creatures that call the park home is by downloading one of the available wildlife guides from the Misty Fjords website. Often seen in the park are two types of bears (black and brown), Sitka black tailed deer, moose, bald eagles, wolves, and moose. There is also a huge population of mountain goats. Make sure to bring a camera and a pair of binoculars, as well as sturdy, closed toed shoes.
Misty Fjords is in Ketchikan, Alaska, which has a variety of different fairs and festivals throughout the year.
One of the more fun and interesting named festivals, the Gigglefeet Dance Fest, happens annually at the end of July or the beginning of August. This festival focuses on residents presenting a variety of different dance styles and have featured everything from classical ballet dancing, Filipino break dancing, and boogie woogie. Many of the dancers are people who grew up in Ketchikan but left to pursue various careers, always coming back for this unique dance festival.
There are also many festivals built around the lakes of the Misty Fjords, and the immense amounts of fishing and local seafood found there. From the Halibut Derby, to the Shellfish Festival, and the King Salmon Derby, the locals love to display their local catches in a variety of regional cuisine as well as the hobby, skill, and time it takes to fish the local lakes.
Dining and Shopping
Misty Fjords and Ketchikan are often considered the Salmon Capital of the world, and the local dining options highlights exactly that. However, they also branch out into other fresh seafood options like halibut, oysters, clams, and more. One local favorite is the Alaska Fish House. There are also many shopping options, from large mall to smaller, specialty shops like Made in Alaska.
3031 Tongass Ave, Ketchikan, Alaska, Phone: 907-225-2148
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Attraction Spotlight: Katmai National Park and Preserve
Katmai National Park and Preserve is located on the northern Alaskan Peninsula, with headquarters in King Salmon. The park spans an active volcano landscape, the area surrounding Mount Katmai, and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. In addition to protecting 9,000 years of human history, the park is also a haven for thousands of brown bears, which take advantage of the salmon habitat. The Katmai geology is unique, formed by the world’s 5th largest volcanic eruption, by far the largest of the 20th century.
The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes was named so due to the barren landscape marked by smoking fissures in the land just after the 1912 eruption. Today, the fissures have cooled, leaving behind colorful deposits of ash chilled into clay. Brooks Camp is the most popular destination in the park. Brooks Camp is located on the shore of Naknek Lake at the mouth of the Bear River. It’s popular as a world-class fishing location, and for the viewing of Brown bears, who also flock to the area for the fish. The camp serves as a trailhead for many of the park’s hikes and backcountry adventures. Campgrounds at Brooks Camp are located on the shore of Naknek Lake among mature poplar and birch trees. The campground is surrounded by an electric fence to deter bears from entering the area. The area surrounding the Brooks River is an archeological district on the National Register of Historic Places. Over 900 depressions in which Native Alaskan homes were once located are found along the river. There are several historic structures within the park. Among the most visited is Naknek Lake’s Fure’s Cabin and the Brooks Camp Fisheries Building. Fure’s Cabin is a one-room house available for public use. The cabin, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976, was built in 1926 by Roy Fure. Fure was a Lithuanian who came to Alaska seeking fortune in the early 1900’s. The log cabin’s hand-hewn spruce logs are dovetail joined, and serve as an example of European craftsmanship. Accessible by airplane or boat only, the park is extremely isolated, allowing for a spectacular wilderness experience.
History: The largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century occurred at Novarupta in 1912, just 6 miles from Mount Katmai. The explosion, which was 30 times larger than that at Mt. Saint Helens in 1980, collapsed the top of Mount Katmai, due to magma draining from underneath it to spew forth at Novarupta. The downwind Kodiak Island was engulfed in ash and complete darkness for three full days. The eruption completely buried the nearby Katmai Village. Locals were forced to leave and never returned. As a positive, the eruption brought a renewed interest to the remote Alaskan area. The National Geographic Society funded several expeditions to the area in the early 1900’s, which eventually led to the creation of Mt. Katmai as a National Monument in 1918. Scientists at the time were convinced that the smoking fissures in the landscape would lead to geysers to rival those of Yellowstone National Park, although by the 1930’s most of the openings had cooled, leaving behind “chimneys” and clay of outstanding red, purple and orange colors.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Ranger-led programs are offered at Brooks Camp from June through September each year. All visitors to the Brooks Camp must begin their stay by watching a bear safety video. At the Brooks Camp Auditorium rangers lead illustrated talks on the area’s history, geology and wildlife. Fishing the Brooks River yields trout, salmon and arctic char. Visitors must use caution, as the area is home to the world’s largest gathering of brown bears. Most of the river is catch and release only, save for one area where the limit is one fish per person per day. A ranger-led cultural walk near the Brooks River takes guests on an easy half-mile walk past a partially reconstructed traditional Native Alaskan home. The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes Tour is a ranger-led 7-hour tour. A bus trip takes guests into the valley past three river crossings. After a break for lunch, there is an optional hike to the valley floor. The 3.4 mile hike has an elevation change of approximately 1000 feet. Hunting and trapping are allowed in the Preserve, but not in the National Park. Moose and brown bear are the most common species hunted. Live online chats with rangers and a popular bear cam are available on the park’s YouTube channel year-round.
1000 Silver Street King Salmon, AK 99613, Phone: 907-246-3305
More Things to Do in Alaska
When trying to list the best beaches in the United States, Alaska is probably the last place most people would think to include. When we think about the beach, we tend to focus on sunny, warm destinations like Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, and California. Alaska tends to be more commonly associated with snowy images of cold tundra and icy waters. However, some of the world's best beaches can be found in some very surprising places, and Alaska, despite being known as a frosty, snowy place, is home to some beautiful beaches that people of all ages can enjoy. In fact, Alaska has the unique distinction of having the longest coastline of any other state, with over 5,500 miles of coast in total.
This means that The Last Frontier is home to a long list of beaches. And it gets better! One of the most exciting advantages of visiting Alaska's beaches is that the largest state's coastline is mostly untouched by civilization and the tourism industry. Many of America's best beaches can be a lot of fun to visit, but the experience is affected by lots of resorts, hotels, attractions, and more. The beaches of Alaska are totally calm and quiet, offering purely peaceful experiences that allow visitors to feel completely at one with nature and appreciate the awesome scenery and surroundings, witnessing the power and beauty of nature without any distractions.
Alaska’s beaches are some of the best in the world for relaxing and forgetting about the stresses and worries of regular day-to-day life. If you really just need to get away from it all, this is the place to be. Not only that, but Alaska's beaches might surprise you in terms of their beauty and the wide array of available activities. Fishing, sunbathing, kayaking, and even surfing and arctic swimming can be enjoyed all around this state. Read on to learn all about the best beaches in Alaska.
Yakutat Beach is one of the most untouched and little-known beaches in all of Alaska. It's also one of the state's best-kept secrets. Once you visit this beach for the first time, you'll be instantly captivated by its unique beauty and charm. The sands here are littered with old bits of driftwood and pretty little shells, so it's a super spot to do some beachcombing, but if you're looking to do something a little more intense, the waves here can get quite big and pose a fun challenge to even the most experienced surfers.
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Attraction Spotlight: Alaska Botanical Garden
In the city of Anchorage is the beautiful Alaska Botanical Garden, which is a peaceful place of education within the living museum. Open year round from dawn to dusk, the center strives to be a quite an environment where visitors can connect with nature, learn and even visit the Green house to find plants to grow at home. Beginning in 1993, the first gardens where planted, since then the garden has grown to about 110 acres. Prior to the botanical garden the land was used the by the Athabascan people, and during the 1940s and 1950s the area was occupied by the US Army as a training base. Now the center is a place for visitors to admire, explore, learn, and enjoy the lush gardens in this vibrant living museum.
There are many different exhibits within the Alaska Botanical Garden, which guests can stroll through and view the 8 developed gardens and many different types of flowers. Connecting the entire center are trails that lead throughout the gardens within the garden. The most popular route is the 1.1-mile long Lowenfels-Hoersting Family Nature Trail that weaves throughout the gardens and is a great spot to watch for wildlife along the boreal forest.
Some of these gardens include the Entry Garden, Lower Perennial Garden, Herb Garden, Rock Garden, and the Junior Master Gardener Children’s Garden.At the beginning of the garden is the Entry Garden, which welcomes visitors with its colourful plants and blooming flowers throughout the growing season. This floral entrance leads into the rest of the garden such as the Lower Perennial Garden. This section of the center is focused around perennials, which are flowers native to Alaska, and other flowers that are equipped to grow in the climate of the North. The poppies, hostas, peonies, iris, delphiniums, rockcress, and meadow rue are all beautifully arranged in the garden and are in full bloom during the summer. The Herb Garden is a botanical dream and showcases a variety of culinary and medicinal herbs. By continuing through the living museum, is the exhibit of the Rock Garden can be found that is inhabited by more than 350 species of alpine plants. Coming from Alaska, China, the Himalayas, and Scandinavian countries these plants thrive in the Alaskan terrain. The garden is full of Tufa rock from British Columbia and many of the plants grow in hand-made tufa troughs. In the Junior Master Gardener Children’s Garden, this area is dedicated to allowing kids to nurture their love of gardening. The small fruit orchard, blueberries, strawberries, red currants, and perennials is grown and maintained by children with a green thumb. The Anchorage Heritage Garden is a re-creation of a typical garden between 1915-1950. Here there are many vegetables that are harvested and donated to Bean’s Café and the FoodBank to promote “Plant a Row for the Hungry.” All of the gardens showcase the biodiversity of plants within the Northern Sate of Alaska.
The Botanical Garden is dedicated to preserving nature in Alaska and provides educational classes for people of all ages to engage in learning about plants. Some of the different programs offered include classes for both adults and students to engage in wildlife. The classes for are adults are specialized for gardeners of all areas of expertise. These workshops range in topic, but some of the upcoming classes are tree pruning and care, grafting watermelons and peonies, and a class dedicated to learning about local wildflowers. For students the garden offers field trips, learners a first hand experience in the outdoors classroom as they tour around the lush gardens. With different specific activities designed to foster learning for grades 1-6, children can get their hands dirty while discovering the biology of the earth. Through educational workshops, visitors of all ages are encouraged to learn.
At the garden there are a variety of events throughout the year that allow members of the community to explore, and get involved with the center, the Mushroom Walk and ID, Garlic Tasting, and Bulbs for Beginners are all programs open to the public in Anchorage. The discovery of fungi begins in the Mushroom Walk and ID event, which showcases mushrooms and educates visitors throughout the garden. In Garlic Tasting, different kinds of garlic will be available for sampling and your favorites can be purchased to plant. During the 3 day workshop, the Bulbs for Beginners event provides information to the community about how to prepare a garden during the Fall to have beautiful blooming flowers in the Spring.
4601 I Rd, Campbell Airstrip, AK 99507, Phone: 907-770-3692